Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dutch Landing

In the early 17th Century, there was a rush to establish trade with China, much like today.  The Spanish were ahead of the game with a trading colony in Macao and the Philippines.  Not to be outdone, the Dutch attacked Macao in 1622.  Failing to overtake Macao, the Dutch tried to establish a trading post in the Pescadores Islands (澎湖). However, the Chinese forced the Dutch to leave the Pescadores Islands and take the Taiwan instead.  At the time, Taiwan was considered by the Chinese as a backward and savage land inhabited by headhunters. When the Dutch came to Taiwan, Tainan was the landing site.

There used to be a bay at Tainan called 台江內海. The Dutch established Fort Zeelandia (安平古堡) on an small narrow island across the bay from Tainan. Over the years, silting has caused the bay to become more and more shallow. Silting and planned landfills eventually turned most of the bay into land. The photograph of a Dutch era drawing of Fort Zeelandia and the Dutch town of Tayouan (大員). Tayouan is the Taiwanese aboriginal name for this area. The Chinese name for the island, Taiwan, was derived from Tayouan.

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